Behavioural science consultancy opens New York office, hires new executive

30 August 2018 4 min. read
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BEworks, a unique management consulting firm that solves business and policy problems with behavioural economics, has announced the opening of an office in New York and a new executive hire. The Toronto-based consultancy will bring aboard David Lewis, an Assistant Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Retail Management, as its new Chief Client Officer.

Behavioural economics is a hot academic field which combines the insights of human psychology with economics. Rather than being perfectly rational actors that seek to maximize economic value, the field of behavioural economics contends that humans often act irrationally, exhibiting traits of overconfidence, extreme aversion to loss, poor probability weighting, and limited attention spans.

Two of the most popular books in the field are ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ by Daniel Kahneman – the godfather of the field – and ‘Nudge’ by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler. The latter publication gained a following among governments and policy wonks in its attempt to create choice architecture in a way that nudges suggestible citizens towards policy goals – like etching a housefly on the urinals at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport to ‘improve aim.’ Kahneman and Thaler have both received Nobel Prizes for their work in the field of behavioural economics.

A lot of management theory is founded either on the basis of rational actors or the (often flawed) insights and biases of whatever person devised that particular system. But why not leverage the arguably more solid insights of psychology and behavioural economics? The challenges an organization faces are always linked to the decision-making of the actors within and without the firm. If a strategist has a more complete understanding of the actors’ decision-making process, and how to nudge them toward the desired outcomes, are they a more powerful strategist?

Management consultancy BEworks probably thinks so. Founded in 2010, the Toronto-based firm fields a team of experts in psychology, neuroscience, and marketing to solve business problems, enact growth strategies, and accelerate innovation. Because if you better understand people and how they decide, you can better solve the problem.Behavioural science consultancy opens New York office, hires executiveNow, the innovative consulting firm has appointed marketing expert David Lewis, PhD, to the newly created role of Chief Client Officer. In the role, Lewis will develop strong client relationships, create unique experiences, and maintain the company’s standing as the leading behavioural science consultancy.

Prior to joining BEworks, Lewis was an Assistant Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Retail Management at Ryerson University. Lewis has held numerous senior positions in financial services, including Head of Banking at Barclays Wealth, Head of Banking Products at UBS, and Chief Marketing and Information Technology Officer at ING DIRECT. He was previously named one of the top 50 marketers in the US by Ad Age magazine.

Lewis is a sought-after speaker, presenting keynotes at numerous industry conferences. His research deals with retail consumer behaviour, digital retailing, and innovation. Lewis’ work applies consumer behaviour and behavioural economics to explain consumer decision-making, decision difficulty, and choice satisfaction in the retail area.

Lewis holds a PhD in Marketing from the Lazaridis School of Business at Wilfred Laurier, as well as an MBA in Finance and Strategy from the Schulich School of Business and a BA in Finance and Economics from Western.

"With his breadth of leadership experience and his scientific background, David [Lewis] will help us collaborate even more closely with our clients and introduce BE thinking to a broader range of organizations, further helping us bridge the gap between academia and business," said Kelly Peters, CEO and Co-Founder of BEworks.

Commenting on his appointment, Lewis said, "With almost a decade applying behavioural science to business challenges, BEworks is poised for tremendous growth, and I'm thrilled to be joining such a high-energy, passionate team of scientists.”

"Organizations that embrace scientific thinking can embrace innovation and change faster, and take informed risks with confidence," he added.

New office, new promotions

The firm also announced the opening of a new office in New York City. The location will initially offer a range of workshops to educate clients on behavioural science, and is currently hiring associates.

BEworks, furthermore, announced the promotion of several Toronto team members to Senior Associate: David Thomson, Ph.D., Ada Le, Ph.D., Shannon O'Malley, Ph.D., and Michelle Hilscher, Ph.D.

"We are thrilled to be officially expanding our physical presence to the US market by opening a new office in New York and having the opportunity to celebrate several promotions on our talented team of scientists as they build strong consulting careers,” commented Peters. “This team is actively leading over 20 full consulting projects globally, in Mexico, the US, South America, and Canada.”